When you live with a medical condition that at times impedes your ability to breathe normally, such as asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), it can make your everyday life filled with stress. While they are two different diseases, both asthma and COPD cause swelling in your airways that make airflow difficult. Fortunately, our team at New York Medicine Doctors is here to help. We’ll break down the difference between these two issues, as well as what can be done for treatment and management.

What’s The Difference Between Asthma and COPD?  

While both medical conditions affect your airways, they are caused by different factors. For people with asthma, the swelling that takes place in the airways is typically caused by one of two things, an allergen or physical activity. COPD, on the other hand, is the result of a group of different lung diseases, most commonly emphysema or chronic bronchitis. In some instances, a person can suffer from both asthma and COPD at the same time.

What Are The Symptoms?

Due to the nature of both these conditions, the symptoms a person faces, as a result, can be similar. However, it is important to note that in cases of COPD, patients are more likely to deal with symptoms that are usually more constant as opposed to a quick onset attack as patients with asthma experience. In either instance, they may find themselves dealing with the below:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Production of phlegm (more likely with COPD).

How Can They Be Treated And Managed? 

Whether you’re dealing with attacks such as with asthma or the chronic symptoms that accompany COPD, there are ways for these conditions to be treated and managed. Our team will perform a full evaluation before determining which methods will work best for you, which can include:

  • Recommendation to stop smoking.
  • Staying away from allergens when possible.
  • Various prescription medications.
  • The use of supplemental oxygen. 
  • In extreme cases, surgery.